Astronomy Space Science

Astrotomography by H. Boffin, et al., [faint scan]

By H. Boffin, et al., [faint scan]

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Many people, particularly many astronomers, consider both the direct light as the reflected light as an economic 'waste'. Many publications refer to light as seen from space as "so many million dollars of energy thrown into the drain" (Cinzano, 2000; Crawford, 1991, 1997a; Isobe, 1999; Mizon, 2002). Here, the peculiarities of the English language play a nasty trick. In essence. the term 'waste' always has two distinct meanings: (1) Waste refers to the stuff that is thrown away without being used.

In this respect, it is interesting to note that the astronomical world as a pressure group is a powerful force. Most astronomers do not seem to realise the power they wield in public opinion, and therefore in politics. Astronomy as a world force is discussed in sec. la. (b) Attitude changes A further obstacle is the fact that lighting engineers and astronomers often seem to be two opponent groups, who have interests that cannot be reconciled, and, even worse, that they are not willing to reconcile them.

It may be noted that this view is not shared by the culture-optimists: in Europe, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was a commonly thought that Man had a duty to refine the Creation. A similar thought may be found in Japanese garden architecture. 2 Light Pollution Handbook Chapter 1 As regards light pollution, the picture is clear: light pollution from artificial light is an environmental infringement and must consequently be combatted, whereas obstructions in astronomical observations by the Moon - or by clouds for that matter - are 'natural' causes against which one must not rebel.

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